by Arif Anwar
From an immensely talented new voice in international fiction, a sweeping tour de force that seamlessly interweaves five love stories that, together, chronicle sixty years of Bangladeshi history.
Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar's history, in a vil-lage on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. That story intersects with those of a Japanese pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million-people perished overnight, the structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself. Building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes, it shows the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.
At once grounded in history and fantastically imaginative, The Storm explores the human-ity that connects us beyond the surface differences of race, religion, and nationality. It is an epic novel in the tradition of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, by a singularly gifted and perceptive new writer.
"Complex, elegantly-composed, and page-turning at once, The Storm is a novel both grand and intimate in its scope. Arif Anwar's ability to inhabit a variety of characters across countries and time is nothing short of astounding. I adored this book."-- Armando Lucas Correa, author of The German Girl
"Arif Anwar's first novel, The Storm, is a fascinating, ambitious work, stretching across decades and countries and capturing troubled moments in each....Anwar has challenged himself by weaving together, in a definite narrative design, characters from these countries who come from very diverse backgrounds....Much of the charm and power of The Storm lies in negotiating this push and pull between the hero and the trickster, the magical and the mundane -- and Anwar has handled it beautifully." -- Chitra Divakaruni, New York Times Book Review
Arif Anwar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, just miles from the Bay of Bengal. He has previously worked for BRAC, one of the world's largest nongovernmental organizations, on issues of poverty alleviation, and for UNICEF Myanmar on public health issues. Arif has a PhD in education from the University of Toronto. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife Si (Sandra) Lian. The Storm is his first novel.